Liquid error (sections/custom_mobile-menu line 86): Expected handle to be a String but got LinkListDrop
  • Group 27 Login

Parshat Shoftim
The Quest for Desirable Governance:
Unveiling the Torah's Call for Political Influence

Parshat Shoftim discusses a principle that is known in the modern legal system as the separation of powers. The Israelite society was to be built upon four governing institutions, each with partial authorities, and their main titles are: King, Judge, Priest, and Prophet. It is understood that these institutions take different forms throughout generations. The king is not always a king; sometimes it can be a parliamentary democracy. It can be a parliament or  any governing body, but it is just one part of the governance. The governance is divided among the king, the judge, the priest, and the prophet.

The question arises: What is the most desirable form of governance? Does the Torah favor a king, or does it not favor a king? To this, the Torah says, "Appoint over you a king like all the nations around you."  It appears to instruct that, only then shall you appoint a king over the Israelite Nation. This means that as the political culture evolves and we see that states governed by a king are more organized than states without a king, then we know that the time has come to appoint a king over ourselves-  like all the nations around us.

And here arises a question: How is it possible that something as central as the form of governance is dependent on the political culture of the nations of the world at that time? The answer is very simple. The very reason that God demanded His people to establish a state and not suffice with the establishment of a cosmopolitan or universal religion is to influence the nations of the world. The central fulcrum that moves matters in this world is the political tool. Therefore, the Torah demanded that Israel establish a political entity, a state. And the purpose of this state is to influence the nations of the world through their states. And one cannot influence the influenced if there is no minimal resemblance between the influencer and the influenced.

This is the reason that the Torah demanded that when we establish a political entity, so that we too be able to influence through the political culture of the world.

 

More Weekly Portions

Maternal Bonds and Envy
Psychological Effects in Jewish Tradition [Tazria]

Delving into Parshat Tazria, this study delves into Torah laws surrounding impurity and sin offerings post-childbirth in Judaism, contrasting Christian perspectives. It examines the psychological impacts of childbirth rituals, including mother-child envy, and the significance of atonement vows for mothers. Understanding the complexities of childbirth in Jewish tradition offers insights into both religious practices and psychological effects on individuals.

Beyond Creation
The Eighth Day and the Meeting Yet to Come [Shmini]

This article explores the interpretation of Torah, with a focus on the Tabernacle, Nadab, and Abihu's incident, and the Oral Torah studied in the House of Study. It sheds light on the intriguing disagreement between Moses and Aaron, highlighting the distinctions between the Torah of Moses, which stresses perfection, and the Torah of Aaron, which provides atonement.

Harmony in Devotion
Balancing Voluntary and Obligatory Acts in Judaism [Tzav]

Investigate the nuanced differences between Vayikra and Tzav Torah portions, analyzing the dynamic of voluntary Nedavah offerings versus commanded sacrifices in Judaism. Examine the intricate balance between maintaining pure intentions in performing Mitzvot, reflecting on the unique aspects of Olah and Shelamim sacrifices. Discover the deeper significance of the offering order in the Torah, elucidating the interplay between voluntary and obligatory actions in Jewish tradition.

Search